Game of Thrones, the hit HBO series, has become arguably one of the most loved, talked about, and watched TV series of all time.
It features unparalleled action scenes, dramatic dialogue and captivating storylines as it narrates its characters’ fight for survival and their family’s ascent to the Iron Throne. All while fighting off an oncoming horde of zombie winter soldiers and the ultra-strong and undead commanders who lead them.
Navigating such treachery is difficult business!
Only the best leaders among them are able to keep their heads (literally and figuratively, in this case) and earn the support and loyalty of those who can help them achieve their lofty goals.
Leadership and management is a popular topic at PhoneBurner. So today, we’ve taken notes from some of our leaders in Westeros… and unearthed some great lessons that can help you lead your sales team to success.
(Spoiler alert: Stop reading if you haven’t watched up through season 7!)
Lead by Example
Jon Snow came out of nowhere to become King of the North. And now, he’s helping lead the charge against the White Walkers for the battle of life and death.
What has helped him to ascend to the throne and win the love of his people?
He’s always led by example. In the Battle with the army of Ramsay Bolton, he led the charge from the front. When working as a member of the Night’s Watch, he brokered a treaty with the Wildlings and showcased his honesty. He does what he says, and he gets down into the trenches to do what’s right for the people.
It’s easy tell people what to do. The best leaders however, lead by example and manage with integrity.
When you tell your sales team what to do and what principles to abide by, they can question you. But when you act according to those principles and show them the way, then you can earn their trust. They no longer have an excuse not to.
Get Help from the Right People
Many an episode of Game of Thrones have talked about the Mad King. He was King back before the timeline of the show, and he literally went “mad”. He heard voices in his head, went on killing sprees, and was eventually killed by Jamie Lannister.
One of his biggest downfalls was his failure to surround himself with good advisors. And those he had, he ignored.
Ironically, his daughter Daenerys has made sure to surround herself with good advisors. More importantly, she encourages them to not just to support her, but to offer opinions and tactical advice.
For one, this has helped her make more informed decisions, and has helped her to largely avoid fatal mistakes and miscalculations.
For another, it’s earned her the trust, admiration and support of an ever growing team and set of followers.
As it goes with war… it goes with sales.
Great leaders surround themselves with great people. They’re open-minded and willing to accept ideas, opinions, and respectful dissension. It’s the most effective way to get to the top. And to stay there.
Understand What Motivates Your Team
After King Joffrey refused to fight in the Battle of Blackwater Bay, Tyrion Lannister led the charge with a speech.
At first, nobody listened to him, and the soldiers were on the verge of giving up. But that’s when Tyrion recognized and played to their motivations.
He knew that at that time, they were not motivated by honor, glory, or the desire to protect a King who was too much of a coward to fight alongside them. What they really cared about was protecting their city, their families, and their wives from a dangerous enemy.
And so, he called for the soldiers not to fight for their King, but instead to fight for the city and their families that they truly cared about. This inspiring speech was enough to rally the troops and set them on a path of eventual victory.
This illustrates the importance of understanding what moves and motivates your people. Without understanding your team’s deeper motivations you’re likely to find it’s difficult to keep them challenged and engaged.
But instead, if you keep their motivations in mind, you can go to the right lengths to inspire them to take positive action. You’ll know what incentives to use to drive them forward.
So, how can you get started with this? You can have team members go through a process like this one to help them , and then discuss it with them individually.
Wrapping Up Lessons that Game of Thrones Can Teach You About Leadership
Game of Thrones is captivating TV. But it also offers a fascinating look at different styles of leadership. Throughout the show, you can see the good and bad of each approach, with plenty of valuable lessons along the way.
Fortunately, there are some great takeaways that you can apply to your sales leadership. Use these ideas to earn the respect and dedication of your team and to push them to loftier and loftier goals.
What other leadership lessons (good or bad) have been illustrated in Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments below!